East vs West: “why” vs “why not”

A friend of mine grew up in the PNW, but went to college in Maine. We were talking about the East vs the West, and she said she did not like that the East coast follows tradition for tradition’s sake. I found that very interesting, and upon reflection, I somewhat agree with her.

In the Northeast, guys wear a suit and tie to (most) job interviews. On the highway, you keep right, except to pass. Well, most people keep right except to pass. The ones that don’t are honked at. There is a system, and there is order. In the PNW, if you wear a suit and tie to a job interview, you will most likely be looked at strangely. On the highway, people drive wherever they want.

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East vs West: Dear Seattle, I don’t like your buildings

A few years ago, a coworker and I found common ground in photography, and talked about it a number of times. He would do things like get up very early and use his huge telephoto lens to take beautiful pictures of birds at sunrise. One thing he said really struck me was this – he said he didn’t like taking pictures of buildings or looking at pictures of buildings. He said they were boring. Pictures of animals or flowers or other organic things were much more interesting to him. In that moment, I realized something. I loved architecture, and pictures of architecture.

I should have known that architecture was one of my great loves. Wherever I go, one of the first things I look at is architecture. I scan the houses or buildings or highrises and look for telltale signs of what style a building is, which will tell me around what year it was built. Then I file that information away. I have favorite building styles and periods, and of course have negative opinions of some architecture. For example, I don’t particulary enjoy brutalist, but I don’t dislike brutalist buildings nearly as much as I hate Jetsons style Googie. Something about Googie just ugh gets to me. On the flip side, 1880-1920 brick buildings are almost always beautiful and wonderful, in my eye.

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East vs West: False familiarity

“This. Is. Not. Target.”

My wife and I were both thinking the same thing as we stood in the entrance to the Target in the Factoria part of Bellevue. We had only been in the PNW for a few days, and needed the usual house supplies. Google led us to Target, but what we found was not the Target we knew and loved. It was small, and attached to a mall. It had neon light designs on the walls, old dirty shelves, and lacked many of the brands we would buy at our Target in PA.

We later found out that this is one of the older Targets in the area. When we later visited the Renton Target, we were relieved to find something more familiar. We had been prepared for a lack of brands like Dunkin Donuts and Cracker Barrel. What we had not been prepared for was such disparate experiences within the same brand.

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East vs West: Losing the brands you know and love

This Safeway was the third store I had gone to today, and I was about out of steam. The Cabot website said these Safeways in Bellevue, WA had Cabot. I was about ready to drive home angry and send a nasty email to Cabot about how their website was faulty. But first I decided to ask someone.

“I’m looking for this cheese from New England called Cabot. It’s not in your regular cheese aisle. But I was told it would be here.” I blurted out to one of the cashiers.

“I’ve never heard of that, but the specialty cheeses are over near the meat counter.” She shrugged.

I wanted to yell “It’s not a specialty cheese! It’s a regular cheese!” but I’m not a crazy person, so I just thanked her and walked away.

I had already walked by the specialty cheese area before, but I figured I would go look one more time. It only took a minute of reading labels to find it. Cabot! My cheese! Oh how I love you. Wait…this little thing is $8? What the hell.

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